Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Tweet Too Much? Nay

On this occasion of my, yes, 300,000th tweet, I ponder whether I tweet too much.  

Uum, yeah.  How do I know it is too much?  Well, back in the olden days of twitter, I wouldn't add someone to my feed if they tweeted as much as I did, as I tried to read everything that went through my feed.

So, why do I tweet so much?  Part of it is that I respond to folks and engage in conversations.  This can lead to a lot of tweets in a short period of time.  And I like to chat with a lot of people on twitter. 

Part of is that I prefer to retweet rather than like a tweet, as I save my likes for bookmarking tweets.  I also like to amplify emerging scholars, but I am not sure how much that adds to my tweet total.  

I almost certainly tweet less about pop culture stuff than I used to, but my work stuff has been far more relevant these days--the civ-mil crisis in Canada, the end of the allied war in Afghanistan, the failed Russian irredentist campaign--which might be replacing some of my older twitter stuff.

Oh, and twitter has replaced some of my blogging--that I will do a ten tweet thread rather than blog about something. 

Plus, these days, I do a fair amount of tweeting to advertise and amplify the CDSN and the activities/outputs of its partners/members.  

Much of it is that I lack focus, so I engage in conversations and respond to tweets all over the map--not just in my area of expertise but in pretty much anything that catches my eye. There are many squirrels out there.

This kind of covers it:

To celebrate this milestone (or is it a benchmark?), I am bringing back one of my oldest blogging bits: how twitter has surprised, troubled, enchanted, and humbled me.

  • I am surprised where twitter has taken me.  Through this app and network, I have been able to connect with journalists, policy-makers, academics, politicians, and others around the world.  This has facilitated my research as I have found important articles that I would otherwise have missed, it has connected me to people I then interviewed for my projects, it has given me new perspectives so I can see things from beyond my narrow lenses, and, yes, I have been corrected on many occasions when I professed without a good understanding of the facts of the situation.  
  • I am most troubled by how my twitter experience is so different from other people.  I haven't faced anything like the abuse some people get on twitter--that being a white straight guy is just a very different experience.  I stopped being a super twitter-evangelist when I realized that my experience is not so typical, and I started being more conscious about following and retweeting and responding to those who tend to be targeted-- women, the LGBTQ+, religious minorities, and people of color.  I could and should do more, and this milestone will remind me to do so.  
  • I am enchanted by the communities of support that have arisen in this space even though/despite of/in reaction to the stuff I just noted.  For instance, the #civmil community of scholars is a great group on twitter, where folks provide citations, feedback, info, and coordinate for panels/conferences/etc.   I am also enchanted by the interactions I have had on twitter with some of the stars that made an impact on me way back when, whether it is the Fonz, Luke Skywalker, or the muse of NatSecTwitter, Morgan Fairchild.  That Nigella Lawson responds to my tweets about her great recipes is very enchanting indeed.  Twitter may not be a leveler, but it is a connector.
  • I am humbled that people follow me and engage me even though I spew too much on twitter and am all over the place. That I have had more tweets get far more interaction than any one of my publications or even perhaps all of my publications should make me more cautious about what I say.  When people meet me in person and say they follow me on twitter, my first instinct is to blush and apologize for tweeting too much.

This reminds me of a story from my year in the Pentagon (you can hear my students groaning at another reference to that experience) where a colonel complimenting me on speaking up at a small meeting involving our three star boss.  I told him my problem is not the need to speak more but the inability to speak less.  And, yeah, at 300,000 tweets, I really haven't learned to talk less.  Yeah, I have some self-awareness but not a lot of self control.  So, there's that.

Which means I can conclude with only one song: 

No comments: